2 men arrested in Spokane for alleged hate crime

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Two men have been arrested in Spokane, Washington, for an alleged hate crime after a black man was beaten and his home was the target of numerous gunshots.

Jason Edward Cooper, 32, is accused of shouting racial slurs at Norris Cooley, 66, punching him in the face and pointing a gun at his head late Sunday night, police said. Cooley's house was also peppered with eight or nine gunshots, police said..

Cooper and Donald Lucas Prichard, 36, were arrested on Monday. They appeared in court on Tuesday where they were charged with first-degree assault and malicious harassment, which is a hate crime ordinance. They remain in the Spokane County Jail.

"The victim of the shooting was a black/African American male," police said in a press release. "One suspect had called him racial slurs, punched him in the face, and threatened him with a gun."

It was not clear Wednesday if Cooper or Prichard had obtained a lawyer. They are scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 24.

Police worked "nearly 24 hours straight" to arrest the suspects because they "are aware of the negative impact incidents like this can have on our community," police said.

"Cooper made statements, and had body markings supportive of white supremacy," police said.

The Spokesman-Review reported Wednesday that Cooley was working in his garage late Sunday night when two men came out of a neighboring home and began shouting racial slurs and threatening to shoot him.

Phil Tyler, former president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, issued a statement asking the community to resist hate crimes.

"These types of acts are meant to threaten and place fear in the minds of our citizens, our neighbors, our friends," Tyler said. "We cannot and will not tolerate these acts."

Tyler wrote that such brazen hate crimes are a growing problem across the nation, and thanked police for the quick arrest.

Elizabeth Fisher, who shares the house with Cooley, told the newspaper that Cooper came up to him and called him a "rapist, child molester, and (the N-word)."

"This guy just came over here, saying that black lives don't matter, only white lives matter," Fisher said.

Cooley told police he was then punched in the face and threatened with a handgun.

The two men then left, and Cooley told police shots were fired at the house about 20 minutes later.